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Climate Emergency

Legislative Report - Week of 2/26

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By Claudia Keith, Climate Emergency Coordinator, and Team 

Climate Emergency - Mitigation and Adaptation 

The League continues to be disappointed that there is no commitment by Legislature leadership to update greenhouse gas emission targets or fund a coordinated /cohesive / accountable effort for climate action across all state-funded entities. This irresponsible politically-driven situation may change next session. See OPB: DEAD: Stronger greenhouse gas reduction goals 

Budget end of session Omnibus Bill -The following funding is currently being considered by the JWM: Residential heat pumps, EV Rebates, residential a/c and air quality, community sheltering during extreme heat and or smoke events and Environmental Justice-related Worker Relief funding Programs, now all totaling under $30M. There is currently $15M in SB1530 for Healthy Homes.

(Funding for Environmental Justice refers to Oregon Worker Relief Funding $9M, related to lost wages when there are extensive heat and or air quality/smoke issues for agriculture outdoor workers.)

See also the Natural Resources and Social Policy sections in this Legislative Report.


Other Climate Emergency Bills


Off-Shore Wind: HB 4080, League Testimony, See discussion in NR Leg Report.


Clean Tech Leadership Bill HB 4112 Referred to J W&Ms. League Testimony. Funding is $20M. Likely will die in JWM. 


Right to Repair: SB 1596 See discussion in NR Leg Report, League Testimony . House vote Mar 4.


HB 4155 Infrastructure funding study - Rep Gamba and Sen Golden – in J W&Ms. Fiscal $250K. League Testimony is being considered.


HB 4083 Coal Act: Requires Oregon Investment Council and Treasury to divest from Thermal Coal investments. In Senate vote on 3/4, League Testimony


HB 4102 Funding mechanism for Natural and Working Lands Fund (carbon sequestration). Almost unanimous Affirmative House vote, Sen vote Mar 4, No Fiscal.

Natural Climate Solutions 

At the request of the Oregon Climate Action Committee, OCAC (formerly the Global Warming commission), SB1525 House vote 3/4. This bill supports Oregon’s transition to clean energy. However, several of the dates in the 2023 legislations could not be met due to delayed funding and grant issues. The $10 million fund to carry out work promoting carbon sequestration on Oregon’s natural and working lands (OWEB, ODA, ODFW, ODF) needed to be moved out by a year. The OCAC overseeing implementation of the Natural and Working Lands bill felt more time was needed to complete three studies on Carbon Sequestration and Storage Inventory, Natural Climate Solutions Workforce, and its Carbon Sequestration Goal.

House and Senate Climate Notes 

By Claudia Keith

The HCEE committee held public hearings on the following two bills. Work sessions were held for both bills on Wednesday 2/26.

SB 1525 A: This package of statutory fixes passed 28-2 on the Senate floor. (1) Aligns the deadline for ODOE's mandated Energy Security Plan (SB 1567, 2022) with the federal deadline of 9/30 (federal funding = about $1 million). (2) Extends deadline for ODOE/OCAC N&WL carbon sequestration and storage inventory update (HB 3409, 2023) by one year. (3) Allows partner organizations of Community Renewable Energy Grant program applicants to incur expenses of funded projects (e.g., solar). (4) Transfers unspent funds from the Heat Pump Deployment Fund to the Residential Heat Pump Fund to allow funding to flow to tribes that currently lack a regional administrator. 

SB 1581 A: This bill would require PGE and Pacific Power to report to the Legislature by January 15 each year to inform lawmakers about any plans or preparations the utilities have made toward participating in a regional energy market. Not opposed by the utilities. 

The SEE committee voted along party lines to move these bills to the Senate floor with a do-pass recommendation.

HB 4083-1: The bill directs the Oregon Investment Council and the State Treasurer to try to eliminate certain investments in thermal coal companies. Sen. Hayden interrogated LC staff about separation of powers and whether the bill might apply to "downstream" business of coal companies. LC staff noted the bill defines "thermal coal company" in terms of production and reserves. Sen. Findley said the treasurer's duty is to earn the maximum return on investments and "If he's investing in something that people don't like, then don't reelect him." Sen. Golden said he had hoped the bill would say "Henceforth we won't buy any more coal investments," but called this a step in the right direction.

Rep. Pham's -1 amendment changes the bill’s definition of “clean energy” to match that of “non emitting electricity” in ORS 469A.400: “electricity, including hydroelectricity, that is generated and may be stored in a manner that does not emit greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.” The introduced bill defined it as “energy produced through methods that do not release greenhouse gas emissions or other pollutants in any stage of acquisition, production, transportation, storage or use.” She called this a conforming amendment, though GOP members had questioned the definition. The committee adopted the amendment unanimously.

HB 4015: GOP members opposed the bill on the grounds that it would remove local control over energy facility siting by allowing a battery energy storage system (BESS) developer to preempt the county in routing the siting decision to EFSC. Hayden’s -1 amendment was intended to remove the developer's ability to do so.

Renewable NW and Hecate Energy, a BESS developer, opposed the amendment citing potential delays at the county level, saying the public would have no less opportunity to weigh in via EFSC hearings. This comment was challenged. Concern was also expressed about amendments which come up at the last minute in bills that have been discussed and vetted for months. 

The committee rejected the amendment 3-2, then voted 3-2 to move the bill to the Senate floor with a do-pass recommendation. Findley served notice with a minority report.

DEQ CPP: Climate Protection Plan Update: 

LWVOR signed onto a letter with 41 other organizations asking the  Department of Environmental Quality to consider some guiding principles as the State moves forward with a process to reinstate the Climate Protection Program,

LWVUS Climate Updates Submitted Comments on First Phase of Environmental Justice Scorecard Jan 19 2024, “The League submitted comments to the Council on Environmental Quality in response to its request for information on Phase One of the Environmental Justice Scorecard, an executive order-directed assessment of what the federal government is doing to advance environmental justice. The League advised on ways to improve the scorecard's assessments and accessibility to facilitate the public's ability to monitor federal progress and hold the government accountable on advancing environmental justice for all”. 


Climate Emergency News

Trump wants to unravel Biden’s landmark climate law. Here is what’s most at risk. | MIT Technology Review, Biden Races to Lock in Energy, Climate Rules as Danger Zone Looms – Bloomberg, The environmental cost of AI | Financial Times, Artificial Intelligence Pushes Creation of New Data Center Designs | Costar news, AI Is Accelerating the Loss of Our Scarcest Natural Resource: Water| Forbes, AI Is Taking Water From the Desert - The Atlantic, Protecting climate refugees requires a legal definition | Climate Crisis | Opinion: Al Jazeera, Strengthening Global Cooperation Vital in Addressing Climate-Induced Migration: IOM | International Organization for Migration

Portland clean energy committee: Keep money for what voters intended -, BOEM holds first public meeting for wind energy project off Oregon coast | Video |, Oregon homeowners face rising premiums or limited property insurance options due to wildfire risk -

Climate Litigation and Congressional Climate Resolution

Juliana v Gov: Current Status: “… On February 29, 2024, the Ninth Circuit denied the DOJ’s motion to stay, permitting the case to proceed in the District Court. The Court of Appeals also asked the youth plaintiffs and Judge Ann Aiken to respond to the petition for Writ of Mandamus…” Ninth Circuit Denies DOJ Bid to Freeze Youth Climate Lawsuit | Bloomberg.

February 2024 Updates to the Climate Case Charts | Columbia University Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Oregon Cases – 73 as of Feb 2024


Congressional Children’s Fundamental Rights and Climate Recovery Resolution: LWVUS’ Lobby Corps is currently having targeted Hill meetings on the Children’s Fundamental Rights and Climate Recovery Resolution to continue bipartisan conversations about the climate crisis and resolution and maintain League visibility on this vital issue federally. LWVUS re-endorsed the resolution upon its reintroduction, and maintains a related Action Alert on the website, asking folks to contact their Members of Congress.



Climate Emergency - Volunteers Needed 


Please consider joining the Climate Emergency portfolio team; we lack volunteers in these critical policy areas:

• Natural Climate Solutions, specifically Oregon Dept of Agriculture (ODA)

• Climate Related Lawsuits/Our Children’s Trust

• Public Health Climate Adaptation (OHA)

• Regional Solutions / Infrastructure (with NR team

• State Procurement Practices (DAS: Dept. of Admin. Services

• CE Portfolio State Agency and Commission Budgets

• Climate Migration

 Oregon Treasury: ESG investing/Fossil Fuel divestment


We collaborate with LWVOR Natural Resource Action Committee members on many Climate Change mitigation and adaptation policy topics. Volunteers are needed: Training for Legislative and State Agency advocacy processes is available. Please contact if you have any questions, or wish to become involved with Climate Emergency issues.


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